Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a volatile organic compound, was detected in groundwater from deep (more than (>) 300 feet (ft) below land surface) fractures in monitoring wells tapping a crystalline-rock aquifer beneath operable unit 1 (OU1) of the Savage Municipal Well Superfund site (Weston, Inc., 2010). Operable units define remedial areas of contaminant concern. PCE contamination within the fractured-rock aquifer has been designated as a separate operable unit, operable unit 3 (OU3; Weston, Inc., 2010). PCE contamination was previously detected in the overlying glacial sand and gravel deposits and basal till, hereafter termed the Milford-Souhegan glacial-drift (MSGD) aquifer (Harte, 2004, 2006). Operable units 1 and 2 encompass areas within the MSGD aquifer, whereas the extent of the underlying OU3 has yet to be defined. The primary original source of contamination has been identified as a former manufacturing facility—the OK Tool manufacturing facility; hence OU1 sometimes has been referred to as the OK Tool Source Area (New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, undated). A residential neighborhood of 30 to 40 houses is located in close proximity (one-quarter of a mile) from the PCE-contaminated monitoring wells. Each house has its own water-supply well installed in similar rocks as those of the monitoring wells, as indicated by the New Hampshire State geologic map (Lyons and others, 1997). An investigation was initiated in 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) region 1, and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) to assess the potential for PCE transport from known contaminant locations (monitoring wells) to the residential wells. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the NHDES entered into a cooperative agreement in 2011 to assist in the evaluation of PCE transport in the fractured-rock aquifer. Periodic sampling over the last decade by the USEPA and NHDES has yet to detect PCE in groundwater from the residential-supply wells (as of 2012). However, part of assessing the potential for PCE transport involves understanding the origin of the groundwater in the monitoring and residential wells. One of the tools in delineating the movement of groundwater to wells, particularly in complex, highly heterogeneous fractured-rock aquifers, is the understanding of the geochemical and isotopic composition of groundwater (Lipfert and Reeve, 2004; Harte and others, 2012). This report summarizes findings from analyses of geochemical, isotopic, and dissolved gas characteristics of groundwater. Samples of groundwater were collected in 2011 from monitoring wells and nearby residential-supply wells in proximity to OU1.
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USGS Numbered Series
Geochemical, isotopic, and dissolved gas characteristics of groundwater in a fractured crystalline-rock aquifer, Savage Municipal Well Superfund site, Milford, New Hampshire, 2011